ASSOCIATION of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder (APLSCD),has called for the passage of a bill seeking to make it compulsory for intending couples to undergo genetic testing before marriage.
The bill which is currently at the floor of the Anambra State House of Assembly seeks to curtail incessant births of Sickle Cell children and makes provision for the punishment of anyone who tries to take undue advantage of persons living with the condition.
The group made its demands known through a mother’s day address presented at the Anglican Diocese of Aguata, Anambra State and signed by the its National Coordinator, Aisha Edward.
“We call on you mothers to throw your weight behind us and pressurise the leadership of the state House of Assembly to pass the Sickle Cell Bill into law. This can be achieved through correspondence or by scheduled visits by you mothers to the House of Assembly.
“The Sickle Cell Bill pending before the Honourable state House of Assembly being sponsored by an astute lawmaker, Charles Ezeani, deserves a mention here. The proposed bill when signed into law, will compel a mandatory genetic testing and certificate between intending couples before they can be allowed to marry.
“This is to curtail the incessant births of sickle cell children amongst us. The bill will also promote government medical subsidies for patients with other financial grants and assistance. The law will also make provisions for the punishments of any individual or group who seeks to infringe on the rights of sickle cell patients, or any acts of discriminations and abuses against them.
“But the non passage of this bill into law has further traumatised and destabilised the activities of APLSCD. The loopholes created by it’s unacendency is being exploited by miscreants to escape justice whenever they are apprehended, as it was in the case of a man who extorted huge amount of money from sickle cell patients and their families with the claim for a sickle cell cure, through herbal concoctions.
“Sickle cell disorder should remain an important subject of discussion whenever Christian mothers are gathered in this magnitude. This blood cell disease continues to destroy homes and shatter family happiness and peace of mind. The costs incurred when managing a single sickle cell patient from childhood to adulthood is enough to care for a good number of other healthy children within the same time frame. It had pushed some parents into acts of criminality and immorality in their bid to raise money for medical treatments and other health managements.
“The rights of sickle cell victims must be entrenched consiousely in our minds and upheld at all times. Rather than giving sickle cell patients alms and handouts, an enabling environment should be created for them where they can thrive and compete with others. The constant begging and nagging for our own rights is no longer palatable to us.
The group praised mothers for their doggedness in building a better nation, noting that mothers have shaped the face of society.
“It is a common knowledge that our mothers had remained the beacon guiding the family all through the ages. They have shaped the face of humanity through inculcating in the child, good morals and practices that had become the bedrock for a thriving society.
“We remain grateful and indebted to you all for deeming it necessary to have us here, since our story had been that of constant neglect and indifference among people,”